- The Society for Near Eastern Studies in Japan
- オリエント (ISSN:00305219)
- vol.53, no.1, pp.106-119, 2010
The Malamatiyyah is a group of Islamic mystics who appeared in Nishapur in the ninth century. Although its secrecy made unclear its historical details, one famous Nishapuan Sufi author, Sulamī (d. 1021) provides us with valuable information on them in <i>al-Risālah al-Malāmatiyyah</i>. It tells about some of their unique practices which were designed to help them avoid arrogance and to aid them in the purification of their souls, such as their practice of deliberately committing acts that would draw people's censure (<i>malāmah</i>), concealing their high spiritual state, and earning their livelihood through mundane work. It is said that this group was absorbed by the rising tide of Baghdad Sufism in the tenth century.<br> In the eleventh century, Nishapur produced one of the most famous Sufi authors, Qushayrī (d. 1072), whose <i>Risālah</i> is probably the most widely read Sufi manual in Islamic world. The present paper focuses on his regional link with Nishapur, and attempts to show how Qushayrī adopted some of the unique Malāmati precepts in his <i>Risālah</i>, such as their concept of <i>futuwwah</i> the insistence on the need for the purification of the soul (<i>nafs</i>), and the acceptance of censure. Especially in connection with the last of these items, it is noteworthy that Qushayrī devotes a whole chapter of his <i>Risālah</i> to "backbiting (<i>ghībah</i>)", which is an unusual topic in a Sufi manual, and tells us there that being exposed to backbiting from others is directly linked with merit in the afterworld. These considerations not only us a new understanding of the Sufi thought of Qushayrī, but also suggest that Baghdad Sufism itself was transformed and underwent new developments under the influence of one particular local tradition, the Malāmatiyyah of Nishapur.